Of everyone feeling the effects of working from home, teachers are probably hit the hardest. They have somehow had to find a way to convert their living spaces into classrooms without receiving extra tools and resources to do so.
Employees working for regular companies likely got some sort of work from home gear, whether that be an extra monitor, a new laptop, or tax incentives to go buy their own equipment.
K-12 teachers have no such luck. A charity organization called Two Screens for Teachers wants to help with that. The group is supplying educators with everything they need to boost their productivity from home while hosting virtual classes.
Teaching through a videoconference is already hard. Imagine trying to capture the attention of distractible students while they’re sitting at home, staring at a laptop full of other things to do. Now, imagine trying to do it with just one screen.
Most K-12 teachers receive a laptop from their district. Although a 13-inch screen is fine for typing out lesson plans or hosting a slide show in-person, it isn’t designed to wrangle a Zoom call, notes, attendance, and more all at once.
Two Screens for Teachers is helping educators get their hands on a free monitor and the necessary supplies to connect it. With the ability to use two screens at once, teachers can be more efficient and engaged with students during online classes—for instance, by running a Zoom call on one screen and viewing a lesson plan on the other.
So far, the organization has processed 9,000 monitor requests and over a thousand have been delivered. Teachers must fill out a form that specifies what type of monitor is best for them and what cables are needed to connect it to their computer. Any full-time teacher in the U.S. is eligible to sign up.
“Most teachers I spoke with had never considered getting a second monitor but they immediately understood the value of putting their students on one screen and lesson plans on the other. When they get a new monitor the gratitude is insane,” says Zac Stowell, the principal at Greenwood Elementary in Seattle.
People Helping People
What makes Two Screens for Teachers unique is the fact that it’s a small operation. In fact, each donation request is matched with a donor who can order and ship supplies to a teacher via Amazon. The average cost to get an educator everything they need for virtual classroom success is about $150. Those who like the idea can sign up to donate through the organization’s webpage.
Fortunately, Two Screens for Teachers isn’t going at it alone. It is partnering with DonorsChoose to ensure that each donation is tax-deductible and working with Dell to try and secure a deal for bulk monitor shipments.
The organization’s goal is to distribute 250,000 monitors by the end of the year. Although that is a lofty mark to reach with just three months left in 2020, it can certainly be met. With teachers in the midst of a busy virtual fall semester, the need is greater now than ever.